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Decision on how the European Commission dealt with a complaint that a winner of the EIC Horizon Prize on Blockchains for Social Good infringed intellectual property rights (case 1756/2020/VS)

L-Erbgħa | 06 Ottubru 2021

The case concerned how the European Commission dealt with a complaint that one of the winners of the 2018 EIC Horizon Prize on Blockchains for Social Good infringed intellectual property rights.

The complainant contacted the Commission arguing that one of the winning entries was almost identical to a utility model, which the complainant owned. The complainant considered that the Commission did not investigate the concerns properly and therefore complained to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman found that, in the course of the inquiry, the Commission provided sufficient information about the actions it had taken in reaction to the complainant’s concerns and about its conclusion. The Ombudsman also found that the conclusion reached by the Commission, namely that the dispute should be settled by a court, is reasonable. The Ombudsman thus closed the inquiry finding no maladministration by the Commission. To ensure greater clarity in future, the Ombudsman encourages the Commission, in the context of future innovation contests and awards, to proactively inform contestants and other stakeholders of its approach to related intellectual property rights disputes.

Decision on how the European Commission handled a complaint about how Italy transposed EU legislation on appropriate remuneration of doctors (case 1358/2020/LM)

L-Erbgħa | 29 Settembru 2021

The case concerned how the European Commission handled a complaint alleging that Italy has failed to fully transpose Directive 82/76/CCE on the mutual recognition of diplomas in medicine into national law. The complainant contended that the Italian legislation transposing the Directive, as well as related case law, does not guarantee appropriate remuneration for all doctors who attended training for medical specialists from 1982 to 1991.

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry asking the Commission to address in more detail the complainant’s arguments. In the course of the inquiry, the Commission set out its position that there was no breach of EU law in a clear and reasonable manner. The Ombudsman finds no manifest error by the Commission and thus closes the case with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 1035/2019/PB on alleged maladministration by the EU’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency in a project audit

It-Tlieta | 04 Mejju 2021

The case concerned alleged wrongdoing in the EACEA’s handling of certain matters related to a project audit. Specifically the complainant alleged retribution by the EACEA against a project partner which had in another context complained to the European Ombudsman. The complainant also contended that there was a lack of transparency and unequal treatment.

The Ombudsman found that the EACEA could have provided more information and better explanations to the complainant, and made a corresponding request to which the EACEA provided an adequate reply.

Regarding the alleged retribution, the Ombudsman pointed out that retribution by an EU institution against someone for having complained to the European Ombudsman is maladministration of a particularly serious nature. By implication, an allegation of such an act requires specific and convincing evidence to be put forward. In the present case, no such evidence was produced.

The Ombudsman also found that the allegation of unequal treatment could not be upheld.

The Ombudsman accordingly closed the case.